On January 26, the German synth project Beyond Border will release their sophomore album, Gathering. It’s the second part of a trilogy they call Welcome to the Future that began with 2021’s Awakening.
We’ve already heard a handful of singles from Gathering, including “Journey” and “Radiant,” as well as the most recently released track, “New Start.” All three songs promise another incredible collection of electronic anthems with emotional lyrics and thick, energetic beats.
I interviewed Beyond Border in 2020 when they were just getting started to learn more about the project. I reached out to them again for their thoughts about the new album. Here’s what they told me.
It’s been a little over 3 years since I last interviewed you. How do you feel about the current state of Beyond Border?
Hello. A healthy, happy, and peaceful New Year to you all. And thank you for giving us another chance to speak here again.
The last three years have been a rollercoaster ride of emotions for all of us. The evil C and the changed global political situation have put life to the test, and maybe it’s not what it used to be? That’s why it’s all the more important today to push your own boundaries, not to be too comfortable, not to take everything for granted, to be aware of your opportunities and if you want to change and achieve something, to fight for it.
That’s what we did with Beyond Border. We didn’t just surrender to fate during the pandemic but used the few opportunities we had to present ourselves artistically. On stage and in the studio, we were practically born and have been forced to grow up a bit over the last three years. Our album Awakening was released and now comes the follow-up Gathering, with which we want to take the next step towards establishing and finding ourselves.
It would be very interesting to know what awaits us (and you) in the next three years. We’ll just look at that retrospectively in three years time.
Your new album is called Gathering. What does the title mean?
We’ve enjoyed working with other artists from the very beginning and wanted to continue with Gathering. It also means a piece of how we understand our music—which people and bands have influenced us or which events have had a lasting effect on us.
Beyond Border is supposed to be more than just the two people, Iggi and Deity, but something we want to do together with others. That’s why I always see us more as a project than a band.
On the other hand, it’s also the fact that we now have the chance to meet up again and experience something together. So concerts, clubs, and events are also meant by getting together.
And ultimately, it’s also part of a trilogy that started with Awakening and leads via Gathering to Aftermath. So it’s simply the name of a part of a film series, like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings.
How does it differ from your previous album Awakening?
We do believe that we will take another step towards professionalism with this album and that our perception in the scene will also grow. But I don’t want to use those hackneyed phrases like “it’s our strongest work to date.” I rather think that it has become very strong as an album to listen to and offers a lot of variety and is still typical Beyond Border.
Many artists, especially in the major label sector, are increasingly only making singles. That’s not Gathering. It’s a classic album as we know it from the time before streaming. That’s how Awakening was, but back then there were the singles first, then the album. This time it was more the concept of the album, with a really big amount of songs to choose from, and then we chose with the record company what we thought was most likely to be a single.
So “Radiant” was the most comparable number to “What Makes the World Go Round,” and “New Start” to “Pry Open.” The listener needs a bridge to get over, something that gets the synapses back on track quickly to then get into the album. The special tracks for us, the ones that have the highest emotional impact, will come with the release of the album.
Also, as mentioned before, Gathering is our first release in collaboration with a record company. This is a bit of a challenge for both sides. The schedule and the technical process was new for us because before I was just throwing stuff out into the market when it was ready. Now all of a sudden the whole album had to be ready before the first mentions on social media. It also felt like more of a compromise than I was used to but also a lot more support from outside.
Nevertheless, I was, or rather still am, very unsure about the choice of songs and the sound, although Rob Dust did another excellent job as producer. I guess it’s like the beginning of a relationship. The first meeting is tingling and beautiful, you can then freely decide whether to continue. The second meeting is decisive and somehow always a bit more oppressive before it goes into the falling in love phase. LOL
The new album features guest artists such as j:dead and Toal. How did these collaborations come about and what was it like working with them?
Working with Jay is great and totally relaxed. He is fully involved from start to finish, which was also the case with our first collaboration “Jump Into The Fire” from our Saint and Sinner EPs. In addition to a great, varied voice, he also has a special charisma, which can also be heard on the recording.
Luzi Lacole from Toal is a good friend of our singer Iggi. I also know her personally but not nearly as well as he does, so he arranged the duet. When I wrote the song, I used a plug-in for the female voice, which we were now able to overlay with her excellent voice—a real stroke of luck for the mood of the song. Again, a great and professional collaboration.
It’s always a lot of fun to work with scene colleagues. And it’s so exciting to see what comes out of it.
What else can we expect from Beyond Border this year?
A lot, I hope. I’m already working on the basic songs for the follow-up album, Aftermath, although there are still a lot of songs left over from the work on Gathering that didn’t fit in with the mood. I’ve also come up with something very special for the first singles—more on that in the middle of ’24.
But let’s stay in the near future. The album Gathering will be released in January. There will be a great fan edition box with the remix album, Come To Gather, in addition to the regular album. In addition to a few little gimmicks, there will be a rare club mix CD called “G@ther” that is only available in this box. But the box is almost sold out. It’s all done by NoCut and our mega promoter Sven Enzelmann (former singer of Philtron).
After that we’re going on tour through Germany with Beyond Obsession. Then we’ll be doing promos for the remix album, Come To Gather, which will be released digitally for everyone after the tour. Then we’re already in the middle of the festival summer again. Hopefully, there’s still something for us here. So a few live gigs!?!!
In the late second half of the year, we will release the first single for the follow-up album. And then Aftermath will be released in the middle or end of 2025. The singles won’t be released every month—maybe every 2 months—but people will have a lot of Beyond Border material to draw from by then.
It has to happen quite quickly. After all, we’re not the youngest anymore and don’t have 10 years to establish ourselves. LOL